I'll be honest, it’s been a wild few weeks here at OUSA!
From onboarding our new Research and Policy Analyst Octavia and returning to our first in-person General Assembly since 2019, to saying goodbye to long-time and beloved Executive Director Eddy Avila and braving the first snowfall of the season in Toronto at our annual Student Advocacy Conference at Queen’s Park, we can't seem to catch a break — and am I looking forward to one!
So, to kick off our December, I’m writing to you with a special, holiday edition of our presidential updates to take a moment and appreciate all the hard work we’ve done to imagine and advocate for a better post-secondary education system in Ontario.
Excitingly, the Standing Committee just released their amendments to Bill 26 (the Ministry of Colleges and Universities’ bill to address faculty-perpetrated sexual violence). To support survivors across our campuses and in our communities, OUSA participated in numerous governmental meetings and media to advocate for survivor-centric and trauma-informed policymaking. The posted amendments reflect that they have been listening to us: to students, to survivors, and to experts in gender-based and sexual violence prevention and response.
Last month, we excitedly launched our Ontario Undergraduate Student Survey (FKA OPSSS, the Ontario Post-Secondary Student Survey), and it’s not too late for you to:
- Win one of ten $100 gift cards to anywhere you’d like, and
- Participate in the only comprehensive and consistent student survey for Ontario’s post-secondary education sector.
Results from this survey directly inform policy and advocacy work at OUSA and in the post-secondary sector more broadly. What does the province need to know about our experiences as students in their universities? Fill out the survey by December 9th (check your emails or contact your student union!) and contribute directly to OUSA’s on-the-ground advocacy.
And all of this research and Bill 26 talk was going down alongside some of OUSA’s most anticipated events of the year, finally returning in-person! This included a long and cozy trip to Sudbury for our Fall General Assembly. We reviewed and ratified policy papers on Tuition, Ancillary and Incidental Fees, and Student Entrepreneurship, Employment, and Employability. Two weeks later, many of us were back together again, but this time, in Toronto for our Student Advocacy Conference. All week long, we split off into teams and met with MPPs to advocate on our chosen advocacy priorities for the year: affordability, gender-based and sexual violence, rural and northern students, and sector sustainability. You can read our SAC Recap online here.
Finally, as we wrap up 2022 and ponder the possibilities of 2023, I want to thank you all for your patience, resilience, and faith in the face of ongoing uncertainty. I hope this holiday season can be kind to all of us, and I look forward to meeting again in the new year.